Thailand is turning into AirAsia Group Favourite

According to the Bangkok Post, a recent meeting between AirAsia Group founding Chief Executive Tony Fernandes and Thailand Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-o-cha ended up to the conclusion that AirAsia could move its main international regional headquarters from Jakarta to Bangkok. The airline had moved its ASEAN activities to Jakarta from Kuala Lumpur back to 2012 explaining at that time to look to be closer to ASEAN Secretariat, based in the Indonesian capital.

A move to Thailand could for now be only a tactic to get either more concessions from the Indonesian government and leverage at the same time over the benefits that could be provided by the current Thai government to the low cost carrier. In February, a Thai Deputy Prime Minister even envisioned a financial deal between Thai Airways International and Thai AirAsia with the national carrier taking up to 20% of the shares of Asia Aviation, TAA parent company. An idea which was rejected as absurd at that time by all concerned parties as well as aviation experts.

AirAsia group operations in Thailand are second after Malaysia. Thai AirAsia alone carried in Financial year 2015 over 14.85 million passengers (up by 22% over 2014) with a fleet of 45 aircraft. Adding other airlines (AirAsia Bhd, Indonesia AirAsia and Thai AirAsia X), the total number of passengers carried by the Group is above 16 million a year.

The Bangkok Post reported that Fernandes mulls out the option of building its own airport eventually in Surat Thani. For the time being, AirAsia has bases in Bangkok Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket and U Tapao-Pattaya. it is currently upgrading its presence in Khon Kaen. The carrier which already links the Isaan city to Bangkok up to four flights per day. The airline just launched a daily flight to Chiang Mai as well as to Hat Yai. It is expected that it could soon link also Khon Kaen to Phuket or to U-Tapao/Pattaya.